Michelle Wibbelsman

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Michelle Wibbelsman

Associate Professor Latin American Indigenous Cultures, Ethnographic Studies and Ethnomusicology


(614) 292-7787

Hagerty Hall 298
1775 College Rd.,
Columbus, OH

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Areas of Expertise

  • South American Indigenous Cultures
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Ethnographic Studies


  • Ph.D., Cultural Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004
  • M.A., Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 1997
  • B.A., Plan II Honors and B.A., French, The University of Texas at Austin, 1991

Michelle Wibbelsman is professor of Latin American indigenous cultures, ethnographic studies and ethnomusicology at The Ohio State University. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and holds courtesy faculty appointments in the School of Music and the Department of Anthropology. Dr. Wibbelsman specializes in the expressive culture of indigenous peoples of the Andean highlands. She has conducted fieldwork in Ecuador since 1995. She is the author of Ritual Encounters: Otavalan Modern and Mythic Community (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009), a critical ethnography that engages topics of Otavalan religion and ritual; musical expression; public festivals; history, myth and memory; performance and politics; aesthetics and power; intra- and inter-ethnic conflict; ritual violence; and transnational migration. She has articles on related topics in journals such as Latin American Music Review, The Journal of Latin American Anthropology, Cultural Survival Quarterly, and AlterNativas, and chapters on transnational music making, performance and politics in edited volumes published with Ashgate Press and the Routledge Global Popular Music Series.

She is Co-Coordinator of the Humanities Institute and Center for Latin American Studies Working Groups "Performance as Pedagogy" and “Continuity and Change in the Andes and Amazonia.” Dr. Wibbelsman directs the OSU Andean Music Ensemble and is also director of the Music and Spanish Language summer camp (MAS ALLA) for high school students. As Faculty Curator of the Andean and Amazonian Cultural Artifact Collection at Ohio State, she was invited to participate in the ACCAD Humane Technologies Discovery Theme as Research Fellow in 2017-2018. In 2017 Dr. Wibbelsman served as Co-Director and Lead Teacher for the Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program for K-12 teachers, “Teaching the Andes: Redefining the Common Good and Reclaiming the Public Square.” Dr. Wibbelsman is Winner of the 2017 Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (CLASP) Teaching Award for Junior Faculty. She was also nominated by The Ohio State University for the Whiting Public Engagement Fellowship and entered in the round of finalists for 2018 (final selection pending). Her current research centers on indigenous transnational migration, diaspora, and cosmopolitanism.

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